HOUSTON — The Houston Texans used another big defensive performance and a solid game by quarterback Tyrod Taylor to end the NFL’s longest skid with an upset of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
After turning over the ball four times in their previous game, the Texans didn’t have a turnover against Tennessee and had five takeaways in their 22-13 win over the AFC South leader.
“When you do that, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll have a chance to win the ballgame,” Houston coach David Culley said.
The Texans had four interceptions to tie a franchise record. Desmond King had two of the picks to help Houston end an eight-game losing streak and get its first win since the opener Sept. 12.
“We played together,” King said. “We did our job creating turnovers. We got five of them, and we just helped the team get over the hump.”
Taylor bounced back after struggling in his return from a six-game injury absence in Houston’s previous game. The veteran tied a career high by throwing three interceptions in a loss to Miami before the Houston’s open date last week.
Against the Titans, he threw for 107 yards and ran for 28 and two scores to help the Texans win.
“It wasn’t a perfect game so, there’s still stuff to clean up, but we’ll do that,” Taylor said. “We spoke about it in the locker room. It’s a 1-0 mindset. We’ve got to continue to take it one week at a time.”
Culley raved about Taylor’s leadership and said his presence brings a confidence to his team that was missed when he was injured.
“When he goes out and he does what he did in taking care of the football and doing his job, good things happen and it goes all through the team — not just our offense, but with the entire team,” Culley said.
Houston has 19 takeaways this season under new defensive coordinator Lovie Smith after ranking last in the NFL last season with just nine. Smith has focused on improving the Texans in this area all season, and the 19 takeaways have Houston tied for fourth most in the NFL.
What needs help
The Texans had 83 yards rushing Sunday and rank last in the NFL by averaging just 76.5 yards rushing per game. Rex Burkhead had his best game of the season against the Titans, running 18 times for 40 yards, but he’ll need to do more than that if Houston hopes to get going on the ground.
Sunday was the first time King had an interception since Nov. 4, 2018, against the Seahawks while with the Chargers.
Running back David Johnson continued his season-long struggles against the Titans, rushing 13 times for just 18 yards.
Defensive end Jonathan Greenard is questionable to play this week after missing Sunday’s game with a foot injury. Linebacker Jordan Jenkins injured his knee against the Titans, and Culley said he expects him to be out at least two weeks and possibly longer.
5 — Houston forced five turnovers in two straight games for the first time in franchise history, becoming the third team in the past 10 seasons to do so.
The Texans look to build on their win when they face the Jets this week as they try to win consecutive games for the first time since beating New England on Nov. 22, 2020, before getting a win over the Lions last Thanksgiving. This week’s game is the first of three straight at home.